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Online dating scams: All that you need to know

In this article you will learn how Romance Scams work and how to protect yourself from them.

Are looking for your special someone online? If so, then you have to be more mindful about choosing a lover.  Our advice: Beware of fraud and romance scams.

Scammers take advantage of individuals searching for romantic partners, through dating apps, websites or social media by pretending to be ideal companions.

They manipulate your emotions to make you pay for them, buy expensive gifts or provide money.

These persons begin their fraudulent activities by creating fake profiles, which may otherwise appear genuine to unsuspecting people.

They either use a fictional name or steal identities of other people with trustworthy backgrounds and they use stolen profile pictures for identity theft.

While social media keep us connected, it also destabilizes our equations from time to time. Nine out of ten times, these sweet talkers will shower you with attention to build trust and later ask for money.

A contact over Social Media Networks is the starting point for online scams

Romance scammers often start their scam with a simple friend request or contact on online dating websites or social media.

By the time you realize that you have been cheated on, your money is already gone. These experiences can leave you as a victim heartbroken and can affect relationships that you value.

What does “catfishing” mean?

The act of impersonating another person by stealing their profile information, or by creating a fake online profile, to establish a online relationship with someone, is termed as catfishing.

These individuals attract attention and trick people into believing they are someone else. Besides, catfishers substantiate their profile by using photographs, making up life stories, adding friends and job experience details.

It often happens that these scammers avoid meeting up or video calls as that would reveal their act. They usually convince you with a good sob story and request payments later.

However, some catfish create a fake profile to stalk you online. They may even persuade you to meet up in person, which could potentially turn into a dangerous situation.

How do these romantic scammers operate?

1. The relationship will progress very soon

Online dating fraudsters will charm you with their loving words and share “personal details” to gain your trust and interest. They tend to declare their feelings for you after interacting for a short period even though they have very little personal information about the other partner.

They may soon ask for your phone number, instant messaging or email address to establish a more private way of communication. If you met on a online dating site, the man will try to lure you away from the site and continue communicating via chat or email. Many scammers ask after a few days if they can continue writing about Google Chat former Hangouts with the potential victim. Read more about: Google Hangouts Scams.

2. They narrate tall tales

Romance Scammers know how to play the heartbroken card. Exaggerated accounts of childhood trauma or elaborate stories about losing a close one are commonly used to gain pity and for building an emotional connection.

They also give grand explanations for not being able to join in a video call or why they suddenly need a money transfer in a foreign country. The scam takes its course.

3. Scam artists ask for money

Most often than not, these swindlers will pretend that they have encountered an emergency and will ask for a money transfer. The common stories they use include:

  • A family member requires immediate medical attention but they do not have enough funds to cover the cost of treatment.
  • Their business venture is running at loss and they temporarily need your money to clear some dues.
  • They plan to meet you but they cannot pay for a plane ticket and hence, they want you bear the travel expenses.
  • They ask you to invest in their business or help them pay off their debts.
  • Sometimes, they ask for iTunes cards because otherwise they won’t be able to continue writing or making phone calls.

4. They ask for favours

Once they have earned your trust, they could send you valuable items like, electronic items, jewellery, decorative pieces, etc., and ask you to send them to a different address.

This is a way of covering their tracks in criminal activities in this crime.

Alternatively, the criminals could ask victims to pick up something from a location near you and ship to another address.

Scammers use their honeyed words and sweet nature to manipulate victims into fulfilling their selfish motives.

5. They sometimes also send gifts to win you

Dating scammers may send valuable gifts to impress you. They wait for you to let your guard down and completely trust them.

The main goal of an online dating scam is to get money.

 Online dating scams have usually just one goal – to trick victims into sending money.

Several times, they ask for photos or videos of intimate nature. Later, they could use them to blackmail you or for other harmful intentions.

What are the red flags for online dating scams?

An online dating scammer always appears “to good to be true”. Therefore, you must look out for these tell-tale signs for romance scams before giving your heart (and money) to one.

  1. The conversations quickly take a romantic turn
  2. A social media account or a dating profile with sparse information
  3. The person claims to suffer from an illness
  4. They do not have a permanent address as their job entails extensive overseas travelling
  5. Terrible grammar and spelling mistakes in the messages they send you
  6. Has a high-paying job, is a big businessman or a celebrity of some sort
  7. They claim to be a widower and have a child who goes to boarding school
  8. In most cases, they avoid video calls and sometimes phone calls
  9. They persistently request for money and ask for more if you have already send some
  10. Elaborate accounts of their misfortune.

How to protect yourself from scammers?

Connecting through online dating sites and online dating apps is convenient way of finding your perfect match.

Nevertheless, you must make it a priority to ensure that your prospective partner is a genuine person and not a con artist. Internet scams are a big danger.

It’s not normal to ask for money from someone you’ve never met in person.

Be aware of the activities of scammers and take these necessary precaution measures:

  • Avoid accepting friend requests sent by strangers on social media sites.
  • Do not dwell in emotions while judging someone by their online ‘looks’.
  • Conduct an image search of the person who has approached you.
  • Do not share too much personal information or financial information or intimate photos with someone you barely know.
  • In case you plan on meeting for a date, inform your or friends about the time and place of visit.
  • Be wary if they always skip video calls and make excuses whenever you plan to meet in person.
  • Do not send money, especially via wire transfer to someone you have met only online and not face-to-face.
  • Do not furnish bank account, credit card details or copies of any important documents.
  • Never send them pictures or videos of compromising nature.
  • Be mindful of profile inconsistencies.
  • Never agree to accept money and never send money, gift cards or expensive items on their behalf.
  • Keep your profile privacy settings in check as scammers can steal your information and photos to cheat someone else.
  • Stick to reliable dating sites or an reliable online dating app as creating false profiles in them is relatively difficult, however not impossible.
  • Do not use Western Union or MoneyGram to send money to strangers.
  • Note: Even a video chat is no security against a scam artist.

Be careful when dating online – maybe you are dealing with a Romance Scammer

Online dating can be very nice, but it also holds many dangers. One of these dangers is becoming the victim of a scam. A simple chat can quickly become an online romance scam. Also, the FBI explicitly warns against online dating scam on the Internet.

Anyone online, regardless of age and sex can become a target for internet romance scams. If you are talking with someone and can sense something fishy about him/her, get in touch with our private investigators.

The damage caused by romance scammers amounts to many millions of dollars or euros or Swiss francs every year. Be careful – it can hit you too.

Do you want to know who you’re chatting with?

Is the other person you are chatting with a fake? So that you don’t fall victim to scams, we’ll help you.

Seeking a professional and an unbiased opinion could help you avoid heartbreaks and even loss of money. Private investigators can conduct successful background checks and dig up information about you online beau.

We discreetly verify the identity of the person you met while online dating. And we identify scams, fake profiles and unmask romance scammers.

If you doubt the intentions of your prospective romantic partner, get in touch with us to examine his/her profile.

Our services are available at reasonable rates and can prevent you from getting scammed online. You will receive a full report that tells you everything you need to know. So you effectively protect yourself from becoming a victim of romance and dating scams.

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